Father James Goldwin Moir, CSP, was born on July 19, 1902, in St. Mary's, Ontario. While he was still in grade school, the family of five girls and two boys moved to Los Angeles for two years (1910-1912). Upon their return to Canada, he completed schooling at Stratford, Ontario, and worked for two years at the Royal Bank of Canada. He entered the Paulists in 1922, the year before the community's canonical novitiate was established at Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Father Moir was ordained a Catholic priest on June 2, 1928, in St. Michael's Cathedral in Toronto, Ontario, with classmates John Overend, John MacLellan, and Donald Barry. On the same day the other four members of the class, John Carvlin, John Colleary, Joseph Carvil, and John McGinn were ordained at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. The largest ordination class up to that time, they were nicknamed "The Eight Blocks of Granite," probably a take-off on the famous Fordham offensive line, "the seven blocks of granite."
Newspaper accounts of their 25th anniversary in 1953 offer a glimpse of the pre-Vatican II liturgy: "At Saint Paul the Apostle Church in New York City seven priests, all members of Father Moir's ordination class, said Mass at seven altars at the same time that Father W. A. Michell, the Superior General of the Paulists Fathers, was saying Mass at the main altar in that church."
Father Moir spent much of his active years as a priest on the Paulist mission bands. His first mission was in September 1930 at Granada, Mississippi. Since there was no church there, he preached from the judge's rostrum of the Civil War era court house, which had no screens on the windows.
From 1932 to 1934 he was assigned as assistant to Father McNichol at the minor seminary in Baltimore. Father Harney, the Paulist Superior General, wrote: "It is not a pleasant job that I ask you to take. But you will be able to vary the monotony by taking on various preaching engagements." Father Moir served subsequently on mission bands based in Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Minneapolis. He preached his last mission at Santa Rosa, California, in April 1954 together with Father Bob Scott. Father Moir then spent 15 years on the parish staffs in Minneapolis and New York before entering senior ministry status in 1968.
Father Moir was noted in the community for his frequently repeated aphorisms such as, "that's the way the cookie crumbles," or "that's a horse of a different garage." To the greeting "have a nice day," he would likely respond, "I have other plans."
After 93 years of life and 67 years as a Paulist priest, Father Moir died in New York on August 29, 1995.